So, today started, interestingly enough, with a no-questions-permitted press conference, during which the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom launched the COP26 conference of the UNFCCC, still to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, although without the original leader, and announced that diesel and petrol car sales would be banned from the year 2035.
It sounds like a bold announcement, and I’m sure he meant what he said, yet there are some problems with achieving this.
First of all, the relationships between the government, the vehicle manufacturing businesses, the fuel producers and the fuel sales businesses are very close and interdependent – it will take a mighty shove to shift this interconnected group off its perch.
The ban will be subject to “consultation”, and you can bet that some consultees will object, and lobby against the ban. They will probably be successful. This is because of the outright dominance of diesel and petrol-gasoline vehicles, which is very unlikely to have been unseated by 2035.
The sales of electric vehicles are still negligible compared to the number of diesel and petrol vehicle sales, and the market circulation of pre-existing diesel and petrol vehicles.
Because there are so many diesel and petrol-gasoline vehicles in the national “fleet”, and because their life expectancy is increasing, and because the number of fossil fuel-burning vehicle sales is still increasing, the accumulated number of fossil fuel-burning vehicles in 2034 is going to be huger than ever.
Because nobody will be able to justify stranding this asset, everyone will keep on running their fossil fuel drive vehicles, and others will keep on providing fossil fuels for them.
It seems now to be highly unlikely that the manufacture and sales of electric vehicles will be able to ramp up to match the levels of the fossil fuel-drive vehicle sales by 2035, so everybody will be incentivised to keep running their fossil fuel vehicles.
Because the fossil fuel drive fleet of vehicles will be so large in 2034, there will be enormous pressure to keep producing them – the fuel provision systems will still be in place, and the vehicle manufacturers will still be able to produce them. Businesses will be able to successfully argue that they cannot just stop servicing market need.
That all being said, this announcement opens up a great opportunity for the fossil oil and gas companies to jump in with an offer of Renewable Fuels.
Why ban diesel and petrol vehicles, when instead, you can just green up the fuels ?